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Thread: Year End Positional Review

  1. #1

    Year End Positional Review

    This is my first positional review for the 2017/2018 off season. This is my assessment of need at each position, with an acknowledgement of how the Bengals operate.

    Quarterback
    There has been some speculation among fans and some of the local media talking heads that Dalton may be cut or traded, and/or the Bengals may draft his replacement early. I personally don't think so. Especially if Marvin Lewis is retained. And now with the 12th pick I don't think any of the "we can't pass on that guy" QBs will be available in 1. I do think AJ MaCarron has played his last game as a Bengal. My hope is that he is designated a RFA, the Bengals put the second round tender on him and are able to get a 2 for him. Driskel has some nice physical tools, but I don't think they are ready to trust him with the keys if anything should happen to Andy.
    Need: Yes, unless something unforeseen happens that keeps AJM in stripes I think there is a need to draft a backup QB. Or perhaps sign a veteran free agent. How early will depend on who is available, how high a pick they can get for AJM and if they fill other needs in free agency.

    Running Back
    Mixon looks like a future star. Gio is a great third down/CoP back. Jeremy Hill is gone. They seemed to like Tra Carson, and Brian Hill performed well in limited opportunities. What they do with Ced Peerman will be interesting to watch. As for fullback they seem happy enough with Hewitt and occasionally Uzomah in the role. I would like to see them bring in a true FB, but I doubt it happens.
    Need: None. They tend to draft BPA, so I won't rule out taking one, but it won't be for need. Especially if the current staff is retained.

    Wide Receiver
    AJ Green didn't have a great season, especially later in the year, but he is one of the best in the game. Boyd disappeared for much of the year and was a disappointment, but he showed enough promise as a rookie, and late this season I think they will count on him in 2018. I am still excited for what Ross could bring if properly used. Malone has a ton of upside. Lafell is decent, but hopefully Ross or Malone can take over the #2 role. Erickson plays well when given the chance. Core was supposed to be improved but never did anything as a WR this year. But played well enough on special teams I think he will be kept.
    Need: IMO, as of now we do not have a true #2 WR. Plenty of candidates but no one proven that is "exciting". I could see them looking at a free agent upgrade to LaFell as insurance but unless it's a BPA pick I don't think they draft one.

    Tight End
    Kroft was solid once Eifert went down, and he made some plays. But he isn't a top end TE who is going to "scare" anyone. Eifert's injury history is horrible. And that back injury is at least career altering if not ending. I'd be willing to offer him a team friendly 1 year contract with incentives if he'd take it. Will someone offer more? Will someone gamble on a multi-year deal? Hewitt is more of an H-back and rarely used as a receiver. CJ Uzomah has not developed as I had hoped but he could stick around as a developmental 3rd TE.
    Need: I think there is need. Especially if they want TE to be a dynamic part of the offense. And he would really help Dalton. The year Dalton had a healthy Eifert he was an MVP candidate. There are not many Gronk/Eifert/Kelce types in this draft, but there are a few good ones. If they want to use a second round pick on one. If they get one for AJM and sign a free agent O-lineman I would seriously consider it. If they can't get one of the top TEs I might use a late pick on a blocking type.

    Offensive Tackle
    I was hopeful that Ced O and Fisher would develop into good players. Needless to say that did not happen. The 2 prime backups are old and on the downside of their careers. Fisher's medical condition makes him a huge question mark. There is a chance the procedure "fixed" him and he could develop into a good player. Or it could end his career. He certainly cannot be counted on.
    Need: Dire. I would draft the best one available in 1 even it it means a little bit of a reach. And I would draft another one by the end of 3. And/or sign a free agent who isn't 90 years old and hurt all the time.

    Guard
    Boling is good enough at LG that it's not a need. I was not impressed with Hopkins, at least early. Westerman and Redmond played capably the last 2 games. None of them are "studs" but I think they were good enough to be capable if tackle and center (up next) are improved.
    Need: Minor. I would still consider drafting a big body mauler at RG if one is available and BPA but I think they are adequate if the rest of the line is improved.

    Center
    Bodine has been a disappointment. He is also a free agent. Let him go. TJ Johnson is an adequate backup.
    Need: HIGH. High enough that I would consider Price in 1 with a trade back a few spots IF the top OTs are gone. I would certainly take one in 2. If a good free agent is available I'd look there too.

    Defensive End
    Michael Johnson is nearing the end of his career, but he seems to have found a role as a part time end/nickel DT. Carl Lawson if nothing else is a great 3rd down nickel rusher. Carlos Dunlap is one of the best LDEs in the game. Jordan Willis showed some promise. Chris Smith showed some flashes, but did very little late as Willis and Lawson developed.
    Need: Depth. Because of other, more pressing needs, I would not draft one before the 4th round (unless something stupid happens, like Chubb is there at 12), but a late round depth pick is a possibility. Or, again, a free agent.

    Defensive Tackle
    Geno is a top 2 or 3 DT in the league. Sims was ok, but is a free agent. Billings didn't show as much as I hoped, but hopefully another year and he improves. He certainly has the physical tools. Ryan Glasgow had a nice rookie year and is a capable backup 3T. Did Tupou play at all?
    Need: Mild. Depth at least if Sims is not re-signed. Again, I would not take one early because of other needs, but a mid to late round pick on a 4-3 NT would be on my radar.

    Linebacker
    Burfict is the heart and soul, and extended at the start of the season. Minter was a disappointment, and is a free agent. Vigil was up and down. Evans has some nice physical tools. Rey isn't someone I would want playing starters snaps, but is adequate as "give a guy a rest" backup and a good special teams player. I think a starting 3 of Burfict/Evans/Vigil is good enough.
    Need: It would be nice to add a "stud" MLB, but the O-line need is too big to even think about LB in the first couple of rounds unless we sign a free agent or 2. I still wouldn't take one in 1.

    Cornerback
    William Jackson may now be the best CB we have had in a long time. DPI Kirkpatrick is capable when he has the right matchup (a big WR who isn't a burner). But he also just signed a big contract extension and isn't going anywhere. I think he's ok as a #2 CB. Dennard had his best season as a pro and I think will get an extension. Shaw was something of a disappointment. Adam Jones is at an age where he is best in limited snaps so he can stay healthy. He has 1 year left, and Mike Brown loves him so I don't think he's going anywhere.
    Need: Minimal. As a friend who played football likes to say you can never have too many fast guys and fat guys. So a late round depth pick will always be in play. Then again, it is an even numbered year, so if Denzel Ward is available...... ??

    Safety
    Iloka and Williams have developed into a reliable pair of starters. While neither one is a "center fielder" FS, Brandon Wilson could develop into that. Clayton Fejedelem has developed into a solid backup/teams player.
    Need: Minimal/depth. I have seen mock drafts that have us taking a safety in 1, but that's not happening. If it was going to happen they would have taken Hooker last year.

    Kicker
    Bullock wasn't an all pro by any stretch, and a lot of people were upset we kept him over Elliot, but he made a higher % of kicks, and made the only 50 yarder he was allowed to attempt. Jonathan Brown is on the PS, and everything I hear is his leg is huge.
    Need: Not huge. But if Daniel Carlson is there with our comp 5 (for Whit) I'd think long and hard about taking him. He is considered an even better prospect than Elliot was. He was the #1 kicker last year until he decided to return to Auburn.

    Punter
    Kevin Huber had a really good year and is under contract.
    Need: None.

    Longsnapper
    Clark Harris has been invisible as a snapper. Which is exactly what you want. He's a solid teams tackler too.
    Need: None.

    Returner
    Erickson was not as good this year as last, but he is good enough. And there are other guys on the roster who can also do the job.
    Need: None.

    Coaching Staff
    Outside the scope of this review. But let's be honest. If Marvin leaves the top external candidates probably won't get a look. Simmons and Guenther would at least get interviews, and if we went internal I would not object to Simmons, especially if he could bring in quality coordinators. My guess is Marvin may be back and a few, but not all of the assistants.
    Last edited by Jason_NC; 01-01-2018 at 11:02 PM.

  2. #2
    I thought this was a good review but I found it almost too big to respond to and quite frankly too much important stuff was unknown at the time of posting.

    That's still true in some ways but we now have answers at several of the most important spots, including head coach, starting QB, and whether or not they want to keep their most important and fragile free agent. They do. Also, there have been big changes at defensive coordinator, the OL coach was finally let go, and Urban is no longer in charge of a WR room seemingly filled with young players all locked away in dog houses.

    Thought the thread was worth bumping. Myself, I don't like looking forward to a draft by looking backward at the roster, but I do think this roster could use more than an OT and I think it's reasonable to think they'll look beyond the offensive line when drafting 12rh overall.

    Bump.

  3. #3
    Quote Originally Posted by Jason_NC View Post
    Coaching Staff
    Outside the scope of this review. But let's be honest. If Marvin leaves the top external candidates probably won't get a look. Simmons and Guenther would at least get interviews, and if we went internal I would not object to Simmons, especially if he could bring in quality coordinators. My guess is Marvin may be back and a few, but not all of the assistants.
    I won't go so far as to claim Teryl Austin was a top external candidate to replace Lewis as HC but yeah....I think that's where we're headed in 2 years...or less. Not for a few years have the Bengals had a young coveted coordinator on their staff worthy of hiring as the next HC. Now they've got one good enough to have been interviewed for Head Coach10 times by other teams. That'll do. Why he never got the job is anyones guess but the Bengals now have 2 years to prepare Austin for the big chair. And in a twist only the Bengals could pull off they now have an outsider perfectly positioned to be hired internally.

    As for Lazor, this one feels like a more typical Bengal move. The Bengals offense quite literally couldn't have been worse but the unproven coordinator still gets the nod. Hardly the recipe for a quick turn around.

    Pretty happy with the rest of the assistants, but the new Oline coach will be a critical hire.

  4. #4
    Quote Originally Posted by Jason_NC View Post

    Quarterback
    There has been some speculation among fans and some of the local media talking heads that Dalton may be cut or traded, and/or the Bengals may draft his replacement early. I personally don't think so. Especially if Marvin Lewis is retained. And now with the 12th pick I don't think any of the "we can't pass on that guy" QBs will be available in 1. I do think AJ MaCarron has played his last game as a Bengal. My hope is that he is designated a RFA, the Bengals put the second round tender on him and are able to get a 2 for him. Driskel has some nice physical tools, but I don't think they are ready to trust him with the keys if anything should happen to Andy.
    Need: Yes, unless something unforeseen happens that keeps AJM in stripes I think there is a need to draft a backup QB. Or perhaps sign a veteran free agent. How early will depend on who is available, how high a pick they can get for AJM and if they fill other needs in free agency.
    We have some answers now, but nearly as many questions. By keeping Lewis for 2 seasons the Bengals have also committed to Dalton as their starter....so THAT'S settled. But can we really rule out the Bengals drafting a QB at #12 if no opportunity to trade down presents itself? Even with the team staying with Dalton as the starter they're perfectly positioned to stay put and draft a new backup. It can even be argued that since they'll be drafting a QB they may as well select the best one they can...even if that means drafting a backup earlier than anticipated with an eye towards letting him sit for two years. In fact, it's probably advisable when debating the merits of Baker Mayfield and the rest.

  5. #5
    Quote Originally Posted by Jason_NC View Post
    Tight End
    Kroft was solid once Eifert went down, and he made some plays. But he isn't a top end TE who is going to "scare" anyone. Eifert's injury history is horrible. And that back injury is at least career altering if not ending. I'd be willing to offer him a team friendly 1 year contract with incentives if he'd take it. Will someone offer more? Will someone gamble on a multi-year deal? Hewitt is more of an H-back and rarely used as a receiver. CJ Uzomah has not developed as I had hoped but he could stick around as a developmental 3rd TE.
    Need: I think there is need. Especially if they want TE to be a dynamic part of the offense. And he would really help Dalton. The year Dalton had a healthy Eifert he was an MVP candidate. There are not many Gronk/Eifert/Kelce types in this draft, but there are a few good ones. If they want to use a second round pick on one. If they get one for AJM and sign a free agent O-lineman I would seriously consider it. If they can't get one of the top TEs I might use a late pick on a blocking type.
    Marvin says they want to keep Eifert. I wouldn't, and you probably wouldn't either, but they have to be thinking the risk is worth taking if they want to jump start the offense and give as much help to Dalton as possible. The crazy thing is I'd be reluctant to offer Eifert a long term deal due to fears he's take it, and that leaves the franchise tag. Ironically, it may be the only way of keeping Eifert I'd be willing to consider.

  6. If Baker Mayfield, Josh Allen, or Lamar Jackson are still available at 12, I doubt the Bengals would have any trouble trading down. Buffalo owns #21 and #22, both those picks would do the job. Use one on Billy Price and the other on the best remaining tackle or LB.

    As far as Eifert, I'm fine with him back on a 2-year prove-it deal, but if some other team is willing to pay him big bucks on potential, I doubt the Bengals keep him.
    ORANGE n BLACK

  7. #7
    Quote Originally Posted by Orange n Black View Post
    If Baker Mayfield, Josh Allen, or Lamar Jackson are still available at 12, I doubt the Bengals would have any trouble trading down. Buffalo owns #21 and #22, both those picks would do the job. Use one on Billy Price and the other on the best remaining tackle or LB.

    As far as Eifert, I'm fine with him back on a 2-year prove-it deal, but if some other team is willing to pay him big bucks on potential, I doubt the Bengals keep him.
    Hey, you can never churn too many 1st round picks into 3rd round picks!

  8. #8
    Quote Originally Posted by Jason_NC View Post
    Running Back
    Mixon looks like a future star. Gio is a great third down/CoP back. Jeremy Hill is gone. They seemed to like Tra Carson, and Brian Hill performed well in limited opportunities. What they do with Ced Peerman will be interesting to watch. As for fullback they seem happy enough with Hewitt and occasionally Uzomah in the role. I would like to see them bring in a true FB, but I doubt it happens.
    Need: None. They tend to draft BPA, so I won't rule out taking one, but it won't be for need. Especially if the current staff is retained.
    Mixon may look like a future star but he played like a present day disappointment. At best he had three good games all season long and after being handed the starting job Mixon was outperformed him down the stretch by Gio Bernard. To be fair, the Bengals won't draft a RB early in the coming draft...unless Mixon gets arrested again in the coming weeks. Which can't be ruled out. But failing that it's a good bet Mixon is the player the Bengals will be rebuilding their 32nd ranked offense around. What could go wrong?

  9. #9
    Quote Originally Posted by HOF View Post
    Mixon may look like a future star but he played like a present day disappointment. At best he had three good games all season long and after being handed the starting job Mixon was outperformed him down the stretch by Gio Bernard. To be fair, the Bengals won't draft a RB early in the coming draft...unless Mixon gets arrested again in the coming weeks. Which can't be ruled out. But failing that it's a good bet Mixon is the player the Bengals will be rebuilding their 32nd ranked offense around. What could go wrong?
    The O-line had a LOT to do with that. When he was healthy and the line played well he was really good.

  10. #10
    Quote Originally Posted by HOF View Post
    Marvin says they want to keep Eifert. I wouldn't, and you probably wouldn't either, but they have to be thinking the risk is worth taking if they want to jump start the offense and give as much help to Dalton as possible. The crazy thing is I'd be reluctant to offer Eifert a long term deal due to fears he's take it, and that leaves the franchise tag. Ironically, it may be the only way of keeping Eifert I'd be willing to consider.
    If there is an Evan Engram type in this years class I’d jump on it in the second round. Especially if Eifert walks. Kroft can be your traditional TE while the EE clone could be a hybrid type.

    Imagine this offense with AJ, John Ross if he steps up, Kroft, Engram and then Mixon or gio out of the backfield.

    Someone mentioned trading down with buffalo from 12 to get 21-22.

    Dream scenario for me might be Billy Price at 21. Evan Engram type at 22.
    Linebacker in the second round.
    More OL in the 3rd and 4th.

    Also a couple decent moves in FA, one on OL and one on D.

    That would be a great offseason IMO.

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